“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The Bible says our bodies are blameless—this physical shell (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23). But a lot of grace-confused Christians think we are to “sacrifice” our body each day for God. Here is the verse they’ll use:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Notice Paul says living sacrifice–not a dead one? And notice as he talks about our physical body being offered as a living sacrifice he says this is spiritual worship? This tool God has given us to walk around on planet earth–our body–is best used as spiritual worship when we are living our lives organically as saints. Why? Because our bodies are God’s temple and we are fully sanctified.
We are sanctified–our spirits. Sanctified means holy. Holy means set apart. Saint means holy person. We are holy because God is holy and He lives in our bodies! (See 1 Peter 1:16). Our actions and attitudes are being sanctified by our holy spirit–who is joined with the Holy Spirit–as we live out our lives naturally as heaven-ready people! (See Hebrews 10:10, Philippians 1:6, Romans 12:2).
This is why we must be clear: God isn’t trying to make us “die to self.” Instead, He wants us to be ourselves—perfect, remade spirits. We are perfect, heavenly spirits inside of a shell made up of matter (see Hebrews 10:14, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We need this shell of flesh to live out this blip on the radar of eternity, of life on earth, which will determine the everlasting era of our real lives in heaven or hell.
Heavy, I know. Thankfully, as our spirits lead our bodies (which is worship) rather than the carnal desires which come from our bodies’ five senses–and rather than being led by the sin in our physical bodies (which is inflamed by Mosaic Law observance, see Romans 7)–we are pleasing God with our choices and thoughts. I know that is a long run-on sentence, but the gist is this: Christian, just be yourself and you can’t go wrong!
Who is yourself? What do you look like? Well, look at Jesus! Look at the fruit of His Spirit! (See Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Philippians 4:8).
By being ourselves and allowing our spirit to lead our flesh, we are walking by faith (see 2 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 11:6). This is cyclical because as you be yourself, you naturally walk by faith. On the deepest level, there is no effort here. You don’t have to show effort to be who you truly are. This is why the author of Hebrews said “make every effort to rest” (see Hebrews 4:11). As we rest in Christ we be ourselves.
The truth is, not once does Paul, Peter, James, or John say that we believers have to kill ourselves, or die to self (there is a scriptural faux pas interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15, I’ll get to shortly). Neither does the author of Hebrews–whether it is Paul or not–claim we have to kill off our bodies. On the contrary, many times each letter-writer said we need to be ourselves and if we’re not, then we’ve forgotten who we are:
for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” (1 John 2:20)
After listing off lots of wonderful qualities of a believer, Peter even says this:
“But whoever lacks these traits is nearsighted to the point of blindness, having forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)
Do you see these are present tense statements when each apostle references our holiness? Do you see they are past tense statements when referencing our non-holiness?
Our holiness has happened, by grace, through faith! (See Ephesians 2:8-9). Such holiness leads these physical bodies—not the other way around! Further, what our physical bodies are doing or not doing isn’t causing our holiness nor maintaining it. Our holiness comes once through faith which creates our supernatural rebirth! Our complete identity has changed! (See John 3:7, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
The barometer of your holiness is this: go ahead and try to keep on sinning comfortably. It won’t happen. Why? Because your spirit is perfect and it’s been recreated to not sin (see Romans 6:2-7).
We will live in misery when we choose to allow our bodies to act on sin. Sure, the carnal parts of these shells might get a quick thrill from it, but afterwards, it’s clear that sin is not for us. Some believers live in denial all their lives of this truth, but still, such denial cannot change their spiritual DNA. You cannot be unborn from God just the same as you cannot be unborn from your momma. Birth is final, and you have no say-so in the matter! (See 2 Timothy 2:13, John 1:12, 3:6-7, 1 John 3:1,9, Hebrews 7:25).
This is why God wants us to present these bodies as living sacrifices. How? By living out our heaven-ready selves through our body! As we do, we will enjoy our lives to the fullest, as well as tap into a peace which surpasses all understanding! (See Galatians 5:22-23, John 10:10, Philippians 4:7,12-13).
So today, my friends, know this: The words “die to self” are not in the Bible. The closest thing is, “I face death every day,” in 1 Corinthians 15:31. However, Paul is explaining how he faced physical danger while traveling to spread the gospel. Re-read this passage in context and you’ll see. He even said he fought wild beasts while in Ephesus. The truth is we have a new self from the moment we first believe! (See Romans 6:6-7). We are not killing ourselves off little by little! Sure, our minds are being renewed to just how holy we are, but we are already complete! In my opinion, a poor translation of this verse is “I die daily.” Why would I say that? Because Christians are not dying daily! We are living! We have died, and we have been raised back to life! Our life is now hidden with Christ in God! (See Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3). Our bodies are temples of His very own Spirit and we are holy! He will not dwell in unholy places! (See Colossians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
So saint, be yourself, live your life, and enjoy your life! Your life is your new self combined with Christ!
A prayer for you: Dad, today I want to thank you for teaching me the truth of my body. For so many years I thought I had to be at battle with it. I thought it was bad. I am so grateful for learning from your Spirit that you love my body and it was your very own idea! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who have been lied to about their body, reveal the truth about it! Teach them that their body is but a tool. WE control IT, our spirits do. IT doesn’t control US. Teach them that as they simply walk according to their spiritual perfection, their body will do the same a lot more often than not. Let them know you’re not focused on their body, but on THEM, their everlasting selves. You’re focused on their true identity, your child. As a believer, every mistake their body would ever make, Christ died for and then took it away at the Cross. His sacrifice satisfied you in full. We appreciate Him so much! In His name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from The Christian Identity, Volume 1. Get your copy here!